Jakarta—Nesthy Petecio takes on a vaunted Chinese she beat earlier this year and Joel Bacho fights an Iranian with a milder resume as the Philippines opens its campaign in boxing in the 18th Asian Games on Friday at the Jakarta International Expo Hall.
Petecio, the 26-year-old Davao City pride who has practically fought in every major international competition in the last five years, faces China’s Yin Jun Hua in the preliminaries of the women’s bantamweight (57 kgs division).
Who is Yin?
Read this: Silver medalist in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, bronze medalist in the Jeju 2014 world championships, gold medalist in the 2017 Ho Chi Min Asian championships and gold medalist—but in the 60 kgs class—in the Incheon 2014 Asian Games.
Petecio? She bagged silver in the Jeju worlds, also silver in the 2015 Ulanqab (China) Asian championships and was a consistent silver medalist in the Southeast Asian Games from 2013 to 2017.
But one good thing going for Petecio is she beat Yin in the semifinals of the Korotkov Memorial Cup in Russia last May. It was Petecio’s first win in five meetings over the Chinese as she went on to win the gold.
“This is like a gold medal fight,” said Philippine team coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco of the Petecio-Yin fight.
Bacho, 25, meanwhile, takes on Iran’s Sajjad Kazemzadeh in a men’s welterweight duel.
Bacho, an Asian Championships campaigner from Babatngon in Leyte, is expected to work a little harder against the Iranian, a bronze medal winner in last year’s Tashkent Asian Championships.
The other Filipino boxers drew opening day byes—lightweight James Palicte, flyweight Olympian Rogen Ladon, light flyweight Carlo Paalam and middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial in the men’s division and flyweight Irish Magno in the women’s contest.